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A long-time contributor to SeriouslySmoked. Jim has had a lifelong relationship with the art of grilling, passed on from his father and grandfather to him.
Doug is a hardcore barbeque enthusiast and connoisseur. While he spends most of his time on editing and research,
he sometimes moonlights as a product tester for particularly interesting things he comes across.
As the weather begins to warm, visions of family cookouts spring to mind. While your wood deck is cleaned off and ready to go, you may be wondering how safe using a gas grill on there will be. The short answer is that it is indeed safe, as long as you follow a few safety guidelines.
While cement patios or outdoor kitchens located away from the house are ideal for grilling, wooden decks attached to the house provide unique challenges. Grilling here is convenient but can also lead to fires. Follow safety precautions diligently, and you’ll worry less about a fire breaking out when enjoying that next meal grilled to perfection.
1. Where to Place Your Gas Grill on a Wood Deck
Your first consideration is where to place your gas grill on a wood deck. Find a spot several feet away from the house; the farther, the better. Avoid setting it up under an eave or near trees and overhanging branches. Fire surrounded by too much wood is an accident waiting to happen.
Keep the hot parts of your grill from touching any wood. Provide space on all sides of your gas grill with no crowding. You will also want to confirm the site you choose on your deck is level to avoid your grill from tipping over. As an additional safety measure, block or lock the wheels on your gas grill to prevent it from rolling.
2. Gas Grilling Safety Tips
Grilling is a favorite pastime, whether for steaks, hamburgers, chicken, seafood, or vegetable skewers. By following these gas grill on wood deck safety tips, you’ll ensure a safe and fun grilling experience for you and your guests every time.
Keep Grill Grates Clean
Remove any flammable grease build-up on your grates before and after each use. A leading cause of fires while grilling today is due to unclean grills. You can lessen the mess by utilizing various fire-resistant grill mats or placing water or drip pans underneath the food, eliminating the amount of flammable grease reaching and settling on your grill.
Open Lid before Turning on Gas
Before turning on the gas, make sure you open the lid. If closed, an unsafe build-up of gas can occur, resulting in an explosion if there is a delay in hitting the ignitor. Gas can also build-up if the ignitor fails to quickly light the grill. If this happens to you, wait about five minutes for the gas to dissipate before re-igniting.
Continue to Keep Flammable Items Away from the Grill
As you move about, adding food to the grill or basting with a small brush, avoid keeping any items that could catch fire near the grill. Also, avoid setting such things as napkins or paper towels on a ledge nearby. Keep the surrounding 3’ radius clear when possible.
Utilize Two-Zone Cooking Techniques
To avoid potential flare ups while grilling, consider utilizing the two-zone cooking technique. Keep one side cool while using the other to cook. If a flare up occurs, transfer your food to the cool side and close the lead for a short time to allow it to die down.
Keep an Eye on the Weather
Depending on where you live, winds can pick up in an instance and catch you off guard. These winds can quickly increase flames, leading to fires of nearby objects. Wait for the wind to dissipate, or accept that safe grilling is not an option at that time.
Maintain Access to Extinguishers
Keep at least one fire extinguisher nearby at all times, or add baking powder to your space to throw on flames if they get out of hand. Try to avoid using water to tame fires as it often splashes grease and increases the flames.
Finish Up Safely
Once the grilling is complete, turn the gas off, clean the grates, and close the lid. Check on it a few times to be sure everything is off and there’s no danger of fire.
3. Gas Grilling Dangers
Knowing specific dangers involved while gas grilling can help you stay prepared for the unexpected. Keep these three types of hazards in mind before, during, and after any grilling you do.
A gas grill on wood deck threat is an undetected leak due to improperly threaded lines, damaged hose, or loose connections. All these can lead to subtle gas leaks.
Leaking gas is an invisible menace and is highly ignitable, leading to sudden intense fires. As a result, wood deck flooring and railings can ignite quickly, spreading to your home as well.
Overall, the most vulnerable part of your grill is the hose. Inspect the hose each time you grill, looking for cracks, bends, and other damage. Otherwise, make an effort to keep it shielded from hot grease or surfaces.
On occasion, spray the hose and connections with soapy water. If you see bubbling anywhere along the line, you have a gas leak. Replace the hose and secure connections as soon as possible, and don’t use the grill until you do.
Unexpected fires can result from various circumstances, including windy gusts igniting wood railings or other objects. Always keep an eye on your gas grill and the outdoor weather to keep unwanted fires at bay. Also, clean any spills or smudges on the deck surrounding your grill. These may contain embers that can potentially ignite if not tended to.
Natural Element Dangers
Decks are often located near plants, flowers, leaves, and overhanging branches, which are all highly flammable. These natural elements occasionally sweep up against a grill or hot surface or fall on top of your grilling area. Keep your deck area and landscaping clear, and place your gas grill away from anything that could potentially ignite.
Read more: Best affordable propane grills.